- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 6, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A long-serving and highly respected member of the Vermont House says he’ll retire rather than seek re-election in the fall.

Rep. Tom Koch (“kawch”) of Barre Town received a more than one-minute standing ovation after telling his colleagues Tuesday he wouldn’t be back next year.

The 71-year-old Republican lawyer served in the House for four years in the late 1970s and was elected again in 1996 and every two years since then.

He served four years as chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee when Republicans had control of the chamber a decade ago.

Koch says among the changes he’s seen in his time in the Legislature are that issues have grown much more complicated and technology has come to play a big role in lawmakers’ lives.

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